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Shofar FTP Archive File: orgs/american/militias/idaho/btb-idaho



                       IDAHO

     In recent months, Idaho's militia movement has
attempted to achieve mainstream acceptance. Carefully toning
down his group's rhetoric, militia leader Samuel Sherwood,
of the Blackfoot-based United States Militia Association
(USMA), has told Idaho lawmakers that his organization is
working for change within the political system. On other
occasions, however, Sherwood has derided the state's
government and has seemed to encourage violence against its
representatives.

     Sherwood has exploited local dissatisfaction with
federal environmental policy to boost his recruiting
efforts. In January 1995, a federal judge issued an order
prohibiting mining, logging and ranching in five National
Forests in Idaho to protect endangered salmon in the area.
The move threatened the livelihoods of many Idahoans
including residents of the small town of Challis. Sherwood.
plying the fears and anger of the community, reportedly
encouraged Challis residents to join his militia to fight
such federal restrictions and declared:

     We're ready to look the federal government in the
     eye. We want a bloodless revolution. but if the
     bureaucrats won't listen we'll give them a civil
     war to think about. All it's going to take, is
     this crazy judge to close down central Idaho and
     there'll be blood in the streets.

Threat to Legislators

     Sherwood issued another menacing threat in March. After
meeting with Idaho Lieutenant Governor Butch Otter, Sherwood
complained that some Idaho politicians ignored the interests
of state citizens in favor of a federal agenda. His advice
to followers, widely reported. was: "Go up and look
legislators in the face, because some day you may have to
blow it off."

     Sherwood has claimed that state militia members helped
Republican Anne Fox win election last November as Idaho
Superintendent of Education. According to the Associated
Press, Sherwood said that 1,000 militia members were on hand
to assist the campaign effort by answering telephones and
providing other services. After Fox's victory at the polls,
Sherwood served briefly as a member of her transition team.

     In February 1995, Fox spoke at a USMA meeting in Boise.
On the podium, she expressed approval for the militia's
strong opposition to gun control and its calls for states'
rights.

     On April 15, 1995, militia members, tax protesters and
constitutionalists from across the country, gathered in Post
Falls for a day-long seminar. Speakers before the reported
crowd of 300 included Militia of Montana leader John
Trochmann, anti-tax activist M. J. "Red" Beckman, of
Billings, Montana (see Anned & Dangerous), and Eustace
Mullins, of Staunton, Virginia, a longtime anti-Jewish
propagandist and conspiracy theorist.

Bo Gritz

     Far-right figure and former Green Beret James "Bo"
Gritz, who is building a survivalist community in central
Idaho, has engaged in activities that have closely
paralleled those of the militia movement. He has traveled
the country conducting a weapons and survival training
course he calls SPIKE -- Specially Prepared Individuals for
Key Events -- and has called for the execution as traitors
of the "tyrants" responsible for the government's actions in
the Randy Weaver standoff in northern Idaho and the Branch
Davidian conflagration at Waco.

     Recently, Gritz deplored the April 19 Oklahoma city
bombing yet praised its technique. At a speech in Dallas,
Texas, he labeled the blast a "Rembrandt," and said he
considered it a "masterpiece of science and art put
together."

     A radio station in Charlevoix, Michigan, alarmed by
Gritz's remarks, decided to suspend indefinitely broadcasts
of Gritz's daily shortwave program, "Freedom Calls." After
the station was inundated with calls protesting the move,
however, "Freedom Calls" returned to the air two days later.


~      
ADL Fact Finding Report, "Beyond the Bombing: The Militia
Menace Grows," Anti-Defamation League, 1995.


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